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Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's Hot and It's Monotonous

It's hot outside. Really. Hot. Now I know some people live in Arizona or Texas where you can fry eggs on the sidewalk, but here in New York City it gets pretty toasty too. When the temperature hits the 90° mark something happens here. The heat bounces off the sidewalks and the skyscrapers and lands on the piles of garbage bags that are sitting on the sidewalk and then all that heat and funk gathers up into a big ball and rolls down the stairs into the subway platform and sits on the bench next you as you wait for the F train that may or may not be coming. And I am wearing black most of the time because that is my goddamn work uniform.

True, I could change into my uniform when I get to work but there are two issues with that. Number one, I don't ever want to leave home in time to get to work those three extra minutes it would take to change clothes. Number two, if I leave my uniform at work there is always the chance that someone else will wear it when I'm not there. Yeah, I don't get that either, but it happens. One time I was working with this girl who was wearing a uniform that was clearly too big. When I asked her what was up, she informed me that she forgot her clothes at home so she just put on someone else's. That is nasty. I don't wanna put on my pants and realize that the night before they were worn by someone who may have gotten her period in them. So I wear my blacks to work and deal with my face melting off. If it would just melt off in the right places, I would be fine with that. If some of my nose could melt away so it's a normal size, praise to be to God.

When I got home last night and peeled my uniform off it sat on the floor and turned into a puddle of sweat. Why black? Wouldn't it be refreshing to see your server in a nice white linen or gauze outfit? Or maybe a simple white t-shirt? There was a time when the go-to restaurant uniform was khakis and a polo shirt, but over the ages it has evolved into all black. The best thing about the black is that it hides stains and wrinkles, but I'd be willing to buy a bottle of bleach and an iron if it meant I could wear white for a change. I imagine that in ten years from now, restaurant owners will devise a new look for their servers to wear and it will be even more uncomfortable. Can't you just see us having to wear a burlap tuxedo as we take burger temperatures? It's not that much of a stretch. When I was a cater waiter, I had to wear a tuxedo that was 110% polyester. Okay, it was only 100% polyester. The other 10% was embarrassment. And I never wore that to work. Even I was too ashamed to get on the train wearing a discounted used tuxedo that I bought at Sal's Tuxedo Junction on Steinway Street in Astoria.

It's about 90° today and in two hours I will be putting on my black shirt. I need some serious pit pads. And Arrid Extra Dry. And a towel. And a head band. The melting of the face will commence soon. Now if only I could figure out how to get my Dumbo ears to melt down to a regular size, Id be good.

And what do you wear to work? (And bonus points to anyone who gets the title reference.)



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20 comments:

Jenn W said...

I work in an office, so it's business casual for me. Title is from Sunday in the Park with George, It's Hot Up Here! :) Love your work!

omcdurham said...

I hear ya with the black in the summer. I too am forced to walk 3 blocks in the North Carolina heat (95+ from May to October) from the parking garage to our restaurant, while wearing what amounts to a heavily starched ninja suit, which, by this time has become an extra layer of skin! YUCK!

jnana said...

As someone who wears the traditional black abaya whenever I go out, in the midst of Dubai (where the temperature today was, incidentally, 48 celcius, or 118 F) I am slighttlllyy annoyed that you're complaining!

:P

Noelle said...

I manage fine dining I am supposed to be in a jacket. And in the summertime I trade black slacks for black skirt. I just say no to nylons and trade my Dansko clogs for Dansko Mary Janes. Still wear the Suit Jacket but it gets pretty skimpy underneath. :)

Jamie said...

um I am a manager at a restaurant that wears white button down shirts, and they all bitch that they want to wear black. Those girls can't iron or bleach to save their lives and the grass is always greener...I am glad I am the manager and can wear what I want!

Martin said...

I'm at a B&N bookstore. Ride the bus, and then walk a quarter mile to the store. First half-hour at work the sweat is coloring my shirt, front and back. Not attractive. And I don't have the facilities to keep clothes at the store.

There just ain't any good answer.

Kiddoc said...

The worst for me was when I was in medical school and did a Burn Surgery rotation. I got to wear scrubs (that was okay), but then I had to gown up in a thick, waterproof (and bloodproof) long-sleeved surgical gown, hat, mask, and long booties. And then you had to stand for 2-3 hours under hot surgical spotlights in an 80-degree surgical suite (has to be kept very warm for the patient), all the while smelling fresh and cooked blood and flesh. Just terrible. (And obviously no picnic for the patients, either.). I'm glad I'm not a surgeon.

Amanda said...

I run demos at Costco. Black nylon/cotton collared shirt, black polyester pants, black socks, Dansko black clogs. HOT, HOT, HOT. And not in a good way. I walk approximately 1/4 mile from the employee parking to the store. Yesterday it was 95 here in Boise.

Practical Parsimony said...

Can I tell you what I wore to work for a year, the most hellish year of my life? Okay I will. It was a black French maid costume, lowcut, with white lace around the neckline and panties with white ruffles on the behind, and a bow tied around the waist! I would have loved to be swathed in black from head to toe. I refused to wear panty hose, so I wore black tights. When I got the job, we wore jeans and any top we wanted. So, I did not willing sign up for this humiliation.

Martin, carry your clothes in a small duffle bag, or at least carry the shirt to work.

HT said...

I wear my jammies, because I'm a work at home agent for a call centre.

klovelady said...

Ummmm, I'll take the bonus points for 100 Bitchy. Didn't you post the same thing last summer? Not that I'm complaining 'cause in your sweaty non-slip shoes I'd do the same!

justlikedads said...

I guess I'm pretty lucky, we wear Billy Reid shirts with Khakis. I can't leave my uniform at work either but don't look too terrible on the train, just a little country. When it gets too hot here the t-shirt changes to a tank and the shirts get washed after one wearing. If you have a massive spill you just have to put up with it. Plaid hides a lot though.

Kim Haasarud said...

Ugh. I remember those NYC summer heat waves. I remember it being miserably hot - like a dirty sauna. Just taking one subway ride to work, getting off and seeing dirt underneath my fingernails when the only thing I had touched was the subway pole. In Phoenix we get almost 3 months straight of 100+.

Sincerely, The Waitress said...

I wear what I want to wear, my restaurant has no uniform. But generally I'm in either a black skirt and top or a black dress with tights and flats.
However, at my last waitressing job (in a strip club) we had to wear heels at least four inches high. They were 12 hour shifts with one break and we weren't allowed to sit down.

kris said...

I also wear all black to my waitressing job - polyester logo shirt and full length pants. While I am fortunate that I drive to work in an air-conditioned car, avoiding the "subway funk", this does little to help the fact that the restaurant's temperature is set to that which is comfortable only to little old ladies (who I want to slap with my sweaty hand when they tell me how FREEEEZING it is in there...no it's not, and it's even hotter in the kitchen!) and that people constantly hold the door open as they enter, wait or leave. Also, my section is nearly always on the side of the restaurant that is lined with windows that are nearly floor-to-ceiling, on the side of the building that catches the sun for my entire shift. Good post - and that part about nasty people borrowing other's uniforms is EXACTLY why I don't leave my stuff there...well, that and it would surely be stolen, as they make us pay for our uniforms.

resume for data entry clerk said...

you r too smart.

Anonymous said...

I used to work at the Cheesecake Factory..where the uniform is white pants, white shirt, white belt. It might sound good in theory, but every little bit of anything that spills on you or brushes against you is visible, and we all looked/felt filthy all the time!

Also it was nearly impossible to get away with wearing the same shirt or pants for two shifts without washing them.

Di said...

I am currently working at a McDonald's in scorching hot Texas. Our uniforms are black pants, blue and black shirt, black apron, black socks. The weather is scorching hot, of course, but the grill I stand over every day is not much cooler. The first thing I do when I get home is peel it all off and scrub like I'm trying to eradicate the skin off my body.

David Lightfoot said...

Just discovered your blog after reading your Dr. Phil post, and you are fucking hilarious man (despite the fact you looked a little bit like Carrot Top on TV.)

Anyway, if those restauranteurs you worked for, and the table-waiting fashion "experts" who came up with the brilliant idea of wearing black for professional purposes, weren't such dumbasses in Science class, they would KNOW that UV rays absorb black and make you hotter than you are. Lord knows if I were manager at a restaurant with an outdoor patio, especially when it gets to 100 degrees where you are, I would be cognizant (sp?) of this and pick a ligther colour with a lighter, cooler fabric for my employees. Because everyone knows how unruly it is for customrs to see you perspire under your uniform. Very key.

Whoever said black was the new "it" colour must've either been drunk or living on Mars. That may be fine if you're going to a funeral (and even then, I'd think that people should be wearing white if they're having a gravesite service in 98 degree weather) but to a restaurant waiter, it really shouldn't be necessary. Red, orange, yellow or green would be just as acceptable. These managers need to look into it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but, that's because you're a whore.. you see?